Director: Naoto Hosoda
Writer (of original manga): Sakae Esuno
Animation Studios: Asread
Version Watched: Subbed
[Note: Mirai Nikki is almost definitely for mature audiences only. You have been warned.]
It’s the bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded and you’re fielding. You’ve played a fantastic game, but so has the other team, and it comes down to this final throw. The pitcher winds up, the bat swings and the ball is flying towards Mirai Nikki. You’re ecstatic, you’ve won! You prepare to congratulate the team’s new anime but…then, to everyone’s horror, Mirai Nikki drops the ball. Then it proceeds to trip while trying to retrieve it before pitifully attempting to crawl toward the fallen ball long after the crowd has gone home. Got it? Let’s move on.
The Future Diaries. Items with the ability to predict aspects of the future based on their owners’ characteristics, irreversibly linked to their lives. What better way to choose a new God? Amano Yukiteru is the recipient of one such artefact, with his classmate Gasai Yuno gaining possession of another. They are but two of twelve involved in battle royale to the death, with the winner being granted ultimate power over time and space. For Yuno, this couldn’t be more perfect. Though he doesn’t know it, and though they’ve only talked a handful of times, she loves Yukiteru with every fibre of her being. She adores him. She idolizes him. She lives for him. She would die for him…and she will KILL anyone who dares to get in the way of her feelings. All for her beloved Yuuki, of course.
That intro was probably a little harsh, though the part about the fantastic start isn’t exaggerated. Mirai Nikki plays a great early game that’s a lot of fun to watch. It’s got mystery, action and…romance? In massively satisfying amounts that keep you wanting to know more. Add onto that some visceral and gory sequences that you can’t help but sit up and pay attention to, and you get an experience that won’t soon fade from your mind. For three quarters of its length, the show is well worth your time and easily earns a recommendation from The Geek Clinic. The question, then, is whether the remaining portion is up to scratch. The answer starts with a firm “No” before continuing on to say that you should probably still watch it and the epilogue OVA for the closure they provide. It’s always disappointing when a story as entertaining as Mirai Nikki’s ends poorly but, to my view at least, that doesn’t make the better moments any less deserving of your viewership. This is an anime that I was sad to say goodbye to despite its flaws, which should say something about how much I enjoyed it.
To anyone that’s heard of Mirai Nikki before, it’s well known that the series’ major defining factor is its yandere (or insane-with-love) heroine, Yuno. You just don’t see that character archetype in the spotlight often, making the show as a whole relatively unique. The shift between Yuno as a slightly-overbearing love interest and a deadly psychopath is handled very well in this case, with the fact that her normal self was ever-so-slightly off anyway just adding to her…charm? I’m not sure how comfortable I am giving her that attribute. What about the other characters, then? One could be forgiven for saying that Yuno eclipses them and that they come across as generic. I would argue, however, that they fill their roles well in the context of the story, so that complaint becomes a non-issue for me. The protagonist, however, is a character I could really get behind. He’s whiny, he’s pathetic and he desperately wants someone to call a friend, which meshes perfectly with the flagship role. He also undergoes some developments which make perfect sense in Mirai Nikki but haven’t been done so well in other series, so I have to give him credit for that, too. As a final note, the other future diary owners all have their own interesting thing going for them as well, so it’s really only a minority of characters that could be called uninteresting or stereotypical.
If you’ve seen Deadman Wonderland, Mirai Nikki looks very similar. The art ranges from very nicely done most of the time to a noticeably poorer quality in some of the later episodes. The animation itself does a great job of reminding you just how unhinged some of the characters, and the story itself, are, while at the same time making for good watching in general. I do have to complain that fan service is something of a problem in parts, despite being used to good effect in others (read: appropriate in the context of the story); it’s not abundant or anything but it may make some viewers uncomfortable. As usual, both voice acting and BGM were suitable without being particularly spectacular.
Summary – For those that think they like the idea of a crazy, knife-wielding girlfriend taking part in a future-diary-fuelled fight to the death, Mirai Nikki is a must-watch. Its ending may be on the weak side compared to the rest of the show but that’s no reason not experience all of its good bits which, due to some great animation and interesting characters, are incredibly entertaining. Even if the concept doesn’t immediately jump out at you, I’d recommend giving Mirai Nikki a go because of how few other series out there are like it. Who knows, you might discover a new niche you’re interested in.
Score: 8.5/10 – Good